A timely reminder

Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening

 

I read last night and into the early hours and wept. It’s rare for a book to hold me in this way. Despite its title, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening is not a gardening book although the education of a gardener is the premise for the story. Nor is it about the author’s battle with breast cancer although this cannot be ignored. No, this book is about the human condition with all its frailty and contradictions. It is about a friendship that struggles to emerge but blossoms into something truly life affirming.

The writing isn’t sophisticated nor does it try to be clever. It is brutally honest but in a quiet understated way. The author, Carol Wall, confronts all our fears.  The fear of making a fool of yourself, appearing to be racist, saying the wrong thing, and worse not realising it, the fear of losing your parents and the terror of dying yourself. But through the author and Mr Owita’s evolving relationship the author learns and grows. She confronts her fears and in turn develops a deep understanding of her new friend and his family, who it transpires are dealing with their own demons.

Despite what might sound like a rather depressing storyline, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, is a joy to read. The characters are engaging from the first page and with their back stories slowly unfolding throughout the book we are drawn into their lives wanting to know more.

But the real message I took from this book was that the most important things in life are those that you cannot buy; the importance of real friendship, friendship and love which puts some one else first without hesitation and how we should cherish such friendships as they are very special indeed.  A timely reminder at this time of year.

I would like to thank Kathy over at Cold Climate Gardening for featuring this book on her blog as I would never have come across it otherwise on this side of the pond.  As ever the joy of blogging is the connections we make which lead us to discover all manner of things we wouldn’t normally come across.

 

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. You’re quite welcome, Helen. If memory serves, I first learned of this book through Lee Valley Tools’ blog–a Canadian firm linking to a Canadian blogger. So that book has certainly made the rounds. So glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Dee says:

    Now, I simply must read it. Merry Christmas!

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas with your family, Merry Christmas Helen.

  4. You risk adding to a tsundoku of already epic proportions…! Recommendations are always welcome!

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Hi Helen – I have also read and enjoyed this book – we have it in our Book Club here in Auckland NZ. Also found it delightful, sad and as you say ‘human’! One of those books hard to put down because of the frailty of life. xx

  6. germac4 says:

    Thanks Helen, I look forward to reading that book, I like that kind of theme.
    Best wishes to you and your family for Christmas and the New Year. I’m new to blogging this year, and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and I aspire to those lovely photos!

  7. Søren says:

    Human beings are just amazing, and there’s always a whole range of people out there who are potential best friends for each of us in spite of very different backgrounds.

    I love retracting into myself and being a bit of a hermit at times, but then I suddenly find that I need to see a friend – and there’s always somebody there when I need them, just as I try to be there if somebody needs me. I can’t imagine how I would have survived my life without good friends; I couldn’t have done it on my own, that’s for sure!

  8. Cathy says:

    Oh that sounds like a book to seek out – thanks for the review and bringing it to my attention

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